Bagged soil is usually available in various types ranging from ordinary topsoil to specially formulated soil for a particular plant. The difference comes in the ratio of contents in the soil, which is why reading what is in the bag will help if you want to determine whether the soil suits your needs as you expect it to.
Potting soil is a type of bagging soil that doesn’t contain dirt and is usually a mixture of various components, hence it is ideal for container gardening. Garden soil contains dirt, retains water, and is good for ground-planting. Seed starting mix has no dirt and is of finer texture. Compost soil has a lot of decomposed organic materials. Topsoil varies depending on the area it has been collected from, it can be lots of clay soil, loam soil, or a mixture of soils.
To get the expected results or even better, you have to pick the best bagged soil for a vegetable garden.
Does Bagged Soil Good for Vegetable Garden?
Yes, bagged soils should be perfect for a vegetable garden. However, the bagged soil needs to meet the requirements of vegetable growth. It contains everything at the correct percentage and is treated hence free from weeds and pests which would attack the vegetables.
This product incorporates a mixture of bat guano, forest humus, and bodily waste from earthworms. Additionally, it also contains crab mal, sea-going fish meal, and moss. This bagged soil also incorporates customized pH ranging from 6.3 to 6.8. The pH is within that range for plants to maximize the absorption of fertilizer.
This Ocean Forest Garden soil has nutrients that serve the purpose of supporting the steady growth of firm branches and stems. It ideally suits the germination of plants meant to grow in containers.
Why we love this product
- It completely suits indoor plant potting.
- This soil is a suitable medium for the growth of plants. It is lightweight, which allows continuous aeration and consistent moisture retention.
- It has a customized pH of 6.3 to 6.8, which is an ideal condition for indoor plant growing.
- It is light soil thus incorporates adequate air for aeration.
- It adequately retains moisture in the soil, thus keeping plants hydrated.
- Different stores have different price tags for the product. Some are having high price tags for the product.
The product is suitable for both ground seedling beds and container planting. It has good water-holding features that retain a significant amount of moisture. The product comprises ingredients that allow expansion for aeration, made from light materials and comes in a sealed bag.
Why we love this product
- Water retention ability is so good.
- One of the things that we liked about this product is its ability to quickly expand when absorbing water.
- The soil saves time due to its ease of use.
- It has excellent ability to expand when adding water.
- The soil is rich in physical and organic matter that supports the growth of seedlings.
- It is an all-purpose mixture for use in both potting and on the ground beds.
- After a few days of planting, molds start to develop in the pots.
From its name, Compressed Organic Potting soil comprises compacted, and high-density soil purposed to enlarge and spreads out quickly when in use. The soil incorporates added trace minerals, and essential nutrients meant to increase the size of plants. It has zero toxicity levels due to the natural ingredients such as worm castings, beneficial bacteria, and humic acids. The soil also has adequate levels of amino acids, mycorrhizae, and coconut coir that is grounded. Suitable for container plants and garden plants.
Why we love this product
- This Compressed Organic Potting soil expands significantly, thus allowing aeration and moisture retention.
- The ingredients used to make this product have no odors; thus works well as a top dressing.
- The product incorporates natural ingredients that do not have any toxic effects on plants.
- This product also incorporates additional essential minerals and trace elements that boost the growth and size of the plant.
- It is suitable for both indoor container planting and outdoor garden top dressing.
- A little bit expensive
FoxFarm FX14054 Happy Frog Potting Soil is a living soil since it incorporates mycorrhizal fungi and valuable microorganisms. The soil has expanding features for the enhancement of plant root penetration and it is very easy to use with clear and easy instructions. The soil is exceptionally good at plant root development because it allows plants to absorb water quickly and effectively. It is perfect for indoor potting since it is rich in nutrients and clean, as it should be with indoor potting.
Why we love this product
- It is excellent in growing vegetables and herbs due to the high level of nutrients.
- It is free from gnats and insects, thus being an additional advantage to indoor potting.
- The product contains helpful bacteria and microorganisms that are both indoor and outdoor environmentally friendly.
- This product is expensive than other bagged soils for vegetable gardens.
- You might find some unwanted foreign materials like sticks and pebbles in the soil.
This Sun Gro SUGRBG2 13020402 Black Gold Natural and Organic soil contains natural and organic fertilizer. It is loamy in texture and appearance and generally suitable to apply in gardens. The soil includes mixtures of pumice and perlite for optimal incorporation of air. This product exists in 2-cubic feet. The soil also consists of Canadian sphagnum peat moss, bodily wastes excreted from earthworms’ bodies, and other organic components.
Why we love this product
- The soil is a premium choice for all-purpose gardening applications as it’s all natural and organic potting soil.
- The product is affordable to many customers.
- Apart from existing unwanted materials like wood chips in the soil, it is still a good quality soil with high nutrients that lead to faster crop growth.
- This product used to be free from foreign materials and other debris, but nowadays, you are likely to find some pieces of wood inside.
- The soil leads to an infestation of fungus gnats after some weeks of planting.
This product includes a starter and slow-release fertilizers. The soil consists of essential nutrients that broaden its scope of applications. It is suitable for indoor plantations in containers and also seedbeds. The primary ingredients include perlite, sand, and dark reed sedge peat that boost plant growth. With this soil, you can save money since it easily integrates well with other matter like composted manure and sand.
Why we love this product
- Easy to spread on the bed due to lack of clumps.
- The product works well for flower beds and enhances the growth of grass very quickly.
- You don’t need to add perlite to this product due to its pleasing texture and also because it has medium density.
- The product has an affordable price, so most gardeners, growers and farmers can afford it.
- The product retains too much water, and sometimes you may be forced to add something like vermiculite to loosen up the soil.
7. FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Organic Mix For Garden And Plants (Bundled with Pearsons Protective Gloves)
This soil mixture is a ready-to-use product suitable for the growth of young seedlings and large plants. It has lightweight thus incorporates adequate air. The product has unique ingredients and product formulation, which mainly targets the growth of cuttings and seedlings. The soil has a customized soil pH ranging from 6.3 to 6.8 that targets optimum fertilizer absorption.
The formulation of this soil product suits both indoor and outdoor growing of vegetation and is also suitable for growing plants in containers. The product comes with Pearsons Protective Gloves for hand protection.
Why we love this product
- The pH of this soil is appropriate for several species of plants.
- It is excellent in growing lemon trees from the seedling stage to the harvest period.
- The product has an affordable price tag.
- The soil is light in weight therefore easy to handle during preparation.
- It allows optimum absorption of nutrients, thus the faster growth of plants.
- The product might incorporate live bugs and insects that might infest your garden after some days.
This product is a potting mix prepared to suit both indoor and outdoor gardening. Espoma Organic Potting Mix has an additional myco-tone feature for purposely saving water. The mixture has water retention properties. The product has a manual power source type. It can grow a wide range of home vegetables like hot peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, and tomatoes. It can also exceptionally grow carrots, flowers and certain herbs.
It also allows efficient water drainage; therefore, plant roots get sufficient water for absorption.
Why we love this product
- The soil is rich in organic matter, as evidenced by its dark appearance, soft texture and lightweight.
- The rich incorporation of organic matter in this product leads to the early sprouting of seeds.
- The product is light and easy to handle
- Due to the lightweight, the soil enables sufficient aeration necessary for sustaining the biological components of the soil.
- You are likely to experience fungus gnats infestation since the soil organic matter favors the hatching of gnat eggs while still in the product bag.
It is a mixture of different ingredients, including perlite, wetting agents, and Canadian sphagnum peat moss. The soil also includes portions of processed barks of softwood and controlled-release fertilizer. It is specifically for the growth of vigorous plants and flowers. It is neither light nor heavy. The product has a medium weight, Suitable for outdoor preparations.
Why we love this product
- The soil has pleasing and fluffy appearance that significantly improves the soil’s water retention capacity.
- The product is affordable and of good quality.
- Due to its medium weight, easy to spread on your bed or put in a container.
- It also allows for good soil aeration that maintains the biological quality of the soil.
- There are chances of fungus gnats and whiteflies infestation after using the product for indoor potting.
The Purple Cow IndiCanja is a ready-to-use and easy-to-use product that needs only the addition of water. It best suits professional indoor farmers and growers. However, those who practice farming as a hobby can also use the product. It has a unique method of preparation that a Michigan grower invented. It is composed of organic matter and other essential nutrients. Purple Cow IndiCanja soil also has plant-based composted organic manure as a critical component.
Why we love this product
- At the beginning of using this soil, it integrates air quickly and efficiently, thus allowing free air circulation in the ground.
- The product contains significant amounts of organic and living constituents that boost the growth of flowers.
- The soil is easy to use and retains much water; thus you only need to frequently water the plants.
- This product is suitable for flower farmers since it leads to faster harvests.
- The fungus insects that come along with the soil are not pleasant and affect some plants.
- It is expensive for its quality as compared to other soils.
What To Look for When Buying Best Bagged Soil for Vegetable Garden
There are various types of bagged soil, we will discuss the best bagged soil for a vegetable garden and various components for the soil.
Vegetables require soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter. The vegetables are able to thrive well and production is maximized.
Organic matter has a lot of advantages such as providing the required nutrients to the vegetables for their growth, not to mention that it also helps to soften the soil so that the roots can easily penetrate the soil. It acts as a sponge thus the soil can retain water hence making the soil moist all the time.
Organic matter can be from compost or well-rotted manure or both. Manure can be obtained from the fecal matter from animals for example cows, rabbits, sheep, chickens among others, and decomposed plant waste.
Nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are key when it comes to the growth of vegetables. The bagged soil should contain the three in the correct percentage to give the optimal growth of vegetables.
Nitrogen is the major component of chlorophyll which is responsible for carrying out photosynthesis. In addition, nitrogen is an essential element in the amino acids of the plant which is the building block of plant proteins. In vegetables, nitrogen is responsible for the leafier vegetables thus increasing production. Deficiency in nitrogen discoloring of the leaves and other plant disorders. Nitrogen in the soil can be provided by using organic and chemical fertilizers. The rate of nitrogen let down in the soil is faster through chemical fertilizers.
Potassium is another core nutrient vegetables and should contain in the bagged soil and needed in high quantities. It helps the vegetable to develop resistance to diseases and assist in the plant enzymes. Potassium can be added to bagged soils by adding fertilizers rich in potassium.
Phosphorus is another major nutrient needed in high quantities. It is crucial in making sure the vegetable achieve their full maturity hence ensures optimal production. It is also responsible for root growth hence the roots can help in the uptake of nutrients from the soil.
Other nutrients that should be available, though in minimal amounts include calcium which assists in maintaining the proper pH of the soil and other plant functions such as respiration and cell division. Magnesium is key in chlorophyll production and helps in the utilization of phosphorus and iron. Sulfur assists in the formation of proteins and enzymes, and it’s also crucial in photosynthesis.
Micronutrients are needed in very small quantities but are essential for the growth and development of vegetables. They are; boron, chlorine, copper, manganese, zinc, nickel, and molybdenum.
Organic vs Conventional
Organic bagged soil is made from the decomposition of plant and animal materials hence creating a nutrient and rich mini-ecosystem for the micro-organisms. On the other hand, conventional bagged soil contains synthetic fertilizers which assist in the enrichment of the soil.
The best-bagged soil for growing vegetables is organic soil. This is because the organic material present improves the soil drainage and retention of water which is important for the growth of vegetables, unlike conventional soil which does not contain organic material.
Organic soil ensures that there is a slow but steady release of nutrients in the soil which are required for the growth of vegetables. Since nutrients in conventional soil are provided using fertilizers, the nutrients tend to deplete at a faster rate and the release is not steady.
Organic bagged soil helps the plants to resist pests and diseases. Organic soils contain nutrients that provide natural protection from attack by pests and diseases.
Another advantage of choosing organic bagged soil over conventional bagged soil is easy maintenance. Since nutrients from organic soil are derived from the decomposition of animal and plant waste, it is easy to get that from food remains and animal waste especially if you rear them. However, conventional soil needs the constant addition of fertilizers which can be expensive in the long run, not to mention that it’s not as environmentally friendly as organic soil.
Soil pH is the measurement of soil acidity or alkalinity. Maintaining and achieving the correct pH of the bagged soil is beneficial optimal growth of the vegetables. pH values of 6.0 -7.0 are the ideal range.
Different vegetables thrive well in various pH levels hence it is important to understand the ideal pH for each. For instance, broccoli does well in pH between 6.0-7.0, French beans 7.5, cabbage 6.0-7.5, carrot 5.5-7.0, celery 6.0-7.0, pepper 5.5-7.0 among others.
Soil pH affects the growth of vegetables since it determines the nutrients available in the soil. Too much acidity affects the ability to uptake soil nutrients by the plant and the survival of the useful microorganisms.
Low pH makes nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to be less available. pH above 7.5 reduces the availability of iron, manganese, and phosphorous.
To lower the pH, apply acidic elements such as ammonium salts, aluminum sulfate, and sulfur. Aluminum is very effective since it produces acid the moment it dissolves in the soil. Decomposed organic matter also helps in raising the pH.
pH can be increased by the application of lime products. Limestone is the most effective way of increasing the pH. Wood ashes can be used since they contain a high amount of potassium and calcium. Caution should be taken when applying the ashes since it can damage germinating seedlings and plant roots.
Color and odor
The color and odor of the soil determine its components. The more fertile the soil the higher the number of actinomycetes hence the stronger the earthy smell. A sour smell is an indicator that the soil has low pH.
Soil that smells like ammonia indicates that the soil is poorly drained and is deficient in oxygen. Poorly drained soils provide a conducive condition for infestation by fungus and gnats. It creates fungus and molds which are the primary food source of flying insects such as fungus gnats.
Dark soil shows that the soil is healthy. This is one of the best-bagged soil for vegetables. Earthworms show up in darker soils since their tunnels fill in with humus-soil particles. Additionally, dark soil indicates the soil is well-drained, has proper aeration, and good turnover of organic matter. This type of soil does not predispose the soil to fungus and gnats’ attacks.
Yellow to yellow-brown soil has poorer drainage than red soils. The iron compounds in the soil are in hydrated form hence cannot produce the ‘rusty color’. This type of soil can therefore provide moderate conditions for gnats and fungus inhabitation on the vegetables.
Red soil is an indicator of good drainage. The color may darken due to the presence of organic matter. This is another option for best-bagged soil for the growth of vegetables. Being, properly drained, this soil does not give a conducive environment for the inhabitation of gnats and fungus.
Grey or green color of soil indicates very poor drainage or waterlogged soils. This type of soil indicates serious oxygen deprivation. These soils should not be used as bagged soil for vegetable growth. They also provide the perfect conditions for the manifestation of gnats and fungus in vegetables.
Brown soils are associated with moderate organic matter. Since organic matter provides proper drainage, these soils can provide good growth of vegetables but not the best conditions. They can, therefore, be considered as an option but not given the first priority.
The structure of the soil influences the growth of vegetables because it affects the movement of water, air, and nutrients to plants. Proper drain excess water and help the roots grow to the increased soil volume and the more nutrients are made available to the plants
Soils are classified according to their soil structure. The movement of air, water, and plant roots are affected by the soil structure.
Finely textured soil is predominantly clay soil is an important constituent of soil because it helps to hold nutrients and water. However, clay soil does not allow enough oxygen needed for the growth of vegetables.
Course textured soil mainly sandy soils drain water very fast, is nutrient deficient and, often dry. The holding capacity of sandy soils can be improved through adding of organic matter.
Medium textured soils are predominantly loam soils. They are the best type of soil since they have a good draining capacity and retain the nutrients which will help in the growth of the vegetables.
Below are some of the frequently asked questions when looking for the best bagged soil for a vegetable garden.
i) What makes up a bag of soil?
This is a combination of ingredients that contribute to the goals needed. These are; typical soil, grit coir, pine bark, sphagnum peat, perlite, and vermiculite. Grit helps to improve drainage. Vermiculite helps increase retention. Peat moss contains limestone which helps to keep the right pH of the soil.
ii) How long does soil last in a bag?
Bagged soil does not really have an expiration date. However, the more the soil stays in the package the more the organic matter breaks down.
In an open bag, the bagged soil can last up to six months before it starts losing its beneficial features. The soil can still be used for potted but the results will be a bit lower than before. It can however be used in the garden for general use.
The shelf-life of an unopened bag tends to be longer. It could last between one to two years. After the time has lapsed it is best used elsewhere and not in the planting containers.
iii) Can I use topsoil for a vegetable garden?
The answer is no. Topsoil acts as a great filler, especially in a raised bed. However, topsoil does not contain all the nutrients required for the growth of vegetables. Vegetables require organic matter which is not contained in the topsoil.
iv) Is potting soil good for growing vegetables?
Yes. The potting soil should be well-drained, properly aerated, contains the right pH. Most potting mixes are usually heated hence free from weeds, pests, and diseases. Growing vegetables in potted soil make it easy to attend to them as well as easy in harvesting.
v) How do I make good soil for my vegetable garden?
Vegetables require fertile soils hence adding organic matter in the form of compost or manure helps increase soil fertility. Add mulch since it helps the soil to retain the moisture and keep the soil cool. Mulch could be in the form of mulching paper or covering with dry material which also rotten and provide nutrients to the soil.
Check the pH of the soil to ensure it is in the correct range of 6.0 -7.0 for vegetables.
Keep analyzing the soil to determine which nutrient is deficient and adding the nutrient accordingly.
The soil that vegetables are planted in determines the outcome of the harvest. Hence, it is paramount to ensure the vegetables are planted in soil contain nutrients needed for the optimal growth of the vegetables. The soil should also be well-drained and properly aerated to allow the roots to acquire nutrients easily.
The soil pH should be maintained at a range between 6.0 to 7.0 since too much acidity reduces the availability of some nutrients hence compromising the growth of vegetables. It is therefore important to get the best bagged soil for optimal growth of the vegetables.